Digital Printing: A Bright Future for Books
This spring, I attended the Ricoh Publishing Executive Symposium, which gathered book manufacturers, paper suppliers and book publishers to discuss the future of digital printing. Several sessions at the event emphasized how advances in digital printing technology are reshaping the supply chain and driving greater revenue for both publishers and printers.
Several book industry leaders were in attendance, and I had the chance to speak with a handful of them to discuss their perspectives on digital printing and the opportunities it presents to the industry.
What follows is a series of Q&As with three of the leaders in which they share their expectations for the future of digital printing technology, including production inkjet.
Kurt Scherwatzky, Director of Production Services Procurement, John Wiley & Sons
Q. What trends are you seeing around digital book printing today? How has it affected the book industry?
A. Whether it’s Wiley or any other publishing company, we’ve been seeing over the years the ratio turn in the favor of digital printing. I was at another major educational publisher for 20 years and we saw year-over-year a tremendous increase in digital printing. Publishers don’t want to carry a lot of inventory anymore. Gone are the days where publishers were into the warehouse business; owning warehouses and just stocking millions of books in them.
As publishers are closing warehouses they’re sourcing their warehousing out to other companies to do it for them. Along with the reduction of inventoried warehouse items, publishers are increasingly wanting to print closer to where their customer base is, so distributive print is becoming popular. It’s going to continue to get stronger. The idea of distributive print is that publishers are able to send their files, ideally digitally, to one central location and then have it printed wherever the customer base is.
Q. How has digital printing quality changed in recent years?